becoming an (older) entrepreneur

by Sharon Santoni

 

sharon santoni

When I started this blog nine years ago, I thought it was just going to be a place to share a few  pretty photos and chat about life.   I did not know that because of the blog I’d soon be becoming an entrepreneur.

Let me start that again.

Last week I was asked the question “How do you enjoy being an ‘older entrepreneur’?    It was an unexpected enquiry and for a while I fumbled my reply, then I said, “actually I think the intent is more important than the age, so if you don’t mind I’d prefer to tell you how it feels to be an ‘accidental entrepreneur’.”

They laughed politely and said that actually they really wanted to know about the age thing, so I ended up giving them both.  Because both elements are very real to me right now.

I never thought in a million years that my first blogpost would lead to a little business with a small, and wonderful,  team multi-tasking alongside me.

It all came at the right point in my life, when my children were leaving the nest and I was desperately in need of something to keep me busy and creative.  Because make no mistake, building a business is a very creative activity.  It is full of steep learning curves, of thinking outside the box, of keeping up with trends and permanently adapting to new circumstances.

For the past nine and a half years I have worked full-time and pretty hard .    I have met the most amazing people, and I’ve been lucky to see doors open for me.    Each new stage in the blog/business has grown organically.  The books, the social media, then the tours, subscription box and magazine.  They all came about because the demand was clearly expressed, and I simply replied to that demand.

I have no training in business, and every new step we take requires a ton of research and learning, but I’m not complaining.  It is a lot of work, but it is fascinating.    My business is my new baby, and I would defend it to the last!  I know how  lucky  I am to be able to  jump out of bed each morning excited about the day ahead.

So that’s the accidental entrepreneur aspect, but of course what those journalists really wanted to hear about was the age thing.  In fact they asked some very specific questions:  Are you generally the oldest in the room?  well yes! Are you older than your team? euh, yes, a lot!;   than your banker?  yep!;  the accountant?  yep!; your lawyer?  yes again!; how about your suppliers? yes nearly always!

And how does that make me feel? ….   Let’s just say I have got used to it.  And I love a challenge.   Now and again, when heading into a meeting with someone new, I’ll take a deep breath and try not to see the surprise on their face as they understand that this ‘startup’ is being run by a woman who is fast approaching the traditional ‘retirement’ age.      I always dress carefully, and of course I’m always well prepped for any questions.  I know my business inside out, so it’s pretty easy to hold my own in any discussions.

And if ever the going gets tough, and someone tries to make me feel inadequate (because that happens too)  I have an easy fix.  I simply smile, and quietly remind myself that my social media figures are way better than theirs!!   Small victories should never be under-estimated!

And how about you?  I’d love to hear your story too.  I know that very many of you have a tale of reinvention, which could be as an entrepreneur, or simply a new direction in life.   How do you feel about where you are today, and is the age thing an item for you too?  Do tell me, I’d love to know.

71 comments

Dianne March 27, 2019 - 7:28 pm

Interesting, why do you think that your age relative to all the other people they mentioned was so important to them?

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 27, 2019 - 7:32 pm

HI Dianne, I think they just had a list of people I would meet with regularly in a work situation. But you’re right, I was also a little surprised by their choices 🙂

Sharon

Reply
Clare March 28, 2019 - 3:03 pm

Sharon, you are the inspiration that many women today need to give them the “boost” to make life changes and reinvent themselves. I too am a entrepreneur after leaving the corporate world and couldn’t be happier. Being a “mature” woman doesn’t mean we don’t have the ambition and intellect to be successful. This post and these other ladies who’ve commented are the beginning of a wonderful grassroots movement … merci

Reply
Venasque April 1, 2019 - 2:32 pm

I wondered that myself. How is this relevant to starting a business? Age is a particularly North American preoccupation and everyone needs to understand that people are not aging in the way they traditionally did. Life is a series of reinventions no matter your chronological age. It’s what makes people interesting and engaging.

Reply
Kande Hall March 27, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Sharon, I am in the same (wonderful) boat as you. In 2010, I took my first collection of jewelry, based on French Medallions that I discovered at flea markets in France, to the fashion market in Los Angeles. I hardly knew what a PO was… Having said that, I did have a career in marketing and graphic design for 20 years, and that experience formed a strong foundation to launch this new business… after the age of 50. French Kande, Vintage French Jewelry, is growing, exhilarating, takes a lot of stamina, and I’m full of gratitude. I’ll be in France later this year. I am there once a year, and continue to discover more and more about a country of which, I am so fond. Yours truly, Kande Hall

Reply
Angelica March 27, 2019 - 7:49 pm

Hi, I have seen your jewellery and I like them a lot!

Reply
Penny April 1, 2019 - 11:34 pm

Your jewelry is amazing Kande. I have two of your necklaces. I appreciate and admire both of you women for following your dreams and making a success of your visions.

Reply
Jill March 27, 2019 - 8:15 pm

I looked at your website Kande, and saw “Manhattan Beach Attitude” – is that where you’re based? Manhattan Beach is my hometown, and I still live nearby. I too am an older, accidental entrepreneur – I’m sure there are lots of us! How wonderful it has been for our generation to have the perks of the internet to use in so many creative ways when our nests become empty.

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 27, 2019 - 9:10 pm

Congratulations Kande, I wish you much continued success with your jewelry line 🙂

best

Sharon

Reply
Andi March 27, 2019 - 9:31 pm

I love the French Kande jewelry. It’s beautiful and so unique.

Reply
Cindy March 27, 2019 - 7:40 pm

You do you perfectly! I have enjoyed your blog over the years and will continue to do so for may years to come. And I am an ‘older’ reader. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 27, 2019 - 9:10 pm

Thank you Cindy! You are so kind 🙂

Sharon

Reply
Dianne March 27, 2019 - 7:40 pm

I assume that you know that you are an inspiration for other “older women” who might be interested in being entrepreneurs, specifically in this genre-blogging, writing and business. Thank you for being a trail blazer and showing us it’s possible. Also, for doing it so beautifully. I follow you on the Gram. I’m working up the courage to blog myself.

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 27, 2019 - 9:14 pm

Thank you Dianne, it is very flattering and humbling to think I might inspire others. I think we all like to find stories that resonate, and people who give us goals to aim for.
Just last week I had lunch in Paris with a lovely lady from Dallas, who was extremely welcoming and generous to me when I was in her city last Spring.
She is over two decades older than myself, still running a business, travelling the world, and looking oh so stylish while she does all those things. I told her she is my inspiration! Her name is Audrey, and you can find her at https://www.frenchvintagehome.com/.

best
Sharon

Reply
sandi March 27, 2019 - 7:41 pm

I am soon to be a very young 74 & recently moved back to the US after 43 yrs. in Europe. Americans definitely are prejudice in regard to age, without question. I have “felt” that in many situations where people try to bring me together w/older “others”. Quite frankly I am not supportive of that. I enjoy being w/”youngers” —who are much more alive & interesting. Once in a while I am surprised & hope that I also surprise a few. Europeans are more open in terms of “aging” and mixing. I have a plethora of interests & I follow people like you for that same reason. Keep it coming, Lady!

Reply
Susan Rolfs March 27, 2019 - 7:51 pm

Yes!!!
And thank

Reply
Maria March 27, 2019 - 7:41 pm

I’m an older nearly there for retirement age myself and churning to start a biz! You are one of my biggest inspirations both for your age and your giftedness! But because we’re in same age range, you’re all the more inspirational to me, because of the myth that runs thru my mind that it’s too late at my age to expect to succeed!! Thank you for showing otherwise!

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 27, 2019 - 9:15 pm

thank you Maria, and good luck with your projects 🙂

Sharon

Reply
Jane Golding March 27, 2019 - 7:41 pm

We started a new antiques business last year at the age of 62 and 68, in an old stable in our garden. We are also planning to serve garden teas this summer! We should probably be sitting by the fire in our slippers, rather than wandering around antiques fairs in the cold and rain … but the antiques fairs are more fun!
Jane Golding @theboxgardenantiques

Reply
Terry Applegate March 27, 2019 - 7:43 pm

Very interesting post. I have always felt that I wanted to stay employed as a way of keeping fresh and young. I just recently moved from a corporate professional life of about 35 years to that of a consultant/contractor, which gives me some of my own time and flexibility back. Although I am more impressed by your changes (and strongly desire to do the same) and this change by no means is the change that allows me to move into an area of extreme fulfillment or passion – that is the next step. I am a creative olde soul and want to experience that as a phase in my life.

Reply
Cindy Nolte March 27, 2019 - 7:46 pm

I loved this post! I am an “older” mom who just became an empty nester. I decided to ramp back up at work (I had been primarily doing consulting while raising my son) and my agency merged with another and we are ambitiously building a much larger, thriving agency and I am having the best time! I also am approaching the traditional retirement age but have been creatively and spiritually recharged with this new venture. I would recommend it for anyone with an entrepreneurial streak. It suits me better than golf. The one down side is that I occasionally get a reminder of my actual age and then I have moment of “Oh, criminy! What am I doing?!” Happily that passes and I resume applying high-powered skin care products and pretending to be 30. Or 40. Or 50. Perhaps the person asking you the questions was looking for inspiration about a topic that often is void of positivity. (By the way, loved my first French box! Thanks so much!)

Reply
Barbara van Zanten March 27, 2019 - 7:47 pm

I am an older woman with my own business and what I dislike the most is the assumption, on the part of younger people I deal with, that I am computer illiterate or don’t understand which way is up. In actual fact I build and maintain web sites and format photos using Lightroom and Photoshop every day so in the main, I am more computer literate than they are!

Reply
Betsy Brother March 27, 2019 - 7:49 pm

Sharon,
You are a role model for many women, including me, as we continue to reinvent ourselves!
I believe that each hat we wear deserves a hook until it’s time to put it away. I see age as a sign of experience; the older we get, the more time we have had to learn.
Thank you for making our inboxes lives more beautiful!
Betsy

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:04 am

Thank you Betsy, I like your metaphor of hats and hooks 🙂

Sharon

Reply
Gae Nunes March 27, 2019 - 7:50 pm

I think that you were very gracious in your answers during the interview. I still do not understand why “age” would have anything to do with success in a career…..or at least it shouldn’t. Defining someone by “age” can be so demeaning. I cringe every time I hear a person say “for your age” or “for her age”…….why is it always in reference to a woman and not to a man?

Reply
Melinda March 27, 2019 - 7:55 pm

Hi Sharon,
I really have you to thank for my new line of work. After years of reading your blog, and talking about French brocantes, and specifically the Foire de Chatou, I made the decision to open an eBay store concentrating on affordable French brocante finds. I now make four buying trips yearly, and my store, myfrenchattic at eBay, just celebrated it’s 2 nd anniversary. Merci bien, Sharon!

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:05 am

Thrilled to hear this Melinda, congratulations on your first two years of business and here’s to many more and much success!

best

Sharon

Reply
Anna March 27, 2019 - 8:29 pm

I never grow tired of how individuals reinvented themselves after child rearing and a career. Consequently, my guess is that they were sincerely interested and curious about your experience. It is also inspiring so something folks will keep in mind when they reach a similar stage in their own lives!

Reply
Marilyn McPheron March 27, 2019 - 8:31 pm

Our chronological age often does not match our “mindset” age. My mother claimed to be “16” until she was in her 80’s — as that was the “energy” age she identified with. Now at 92, she identifies more with late 70’s than what people expect of someone in their 90’s. I want to be her when I get that age!!!!!!

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:06 am

Me too Marilyn! What a great lady!

Sharon

Reply
ShaRon Leaf March 27, 2019 - 8:33 pm

I am 73. I am a writer/author . I’ve traveled the world and I especially love France. I travel the USA in our motorhome and enjoy meeting people from all backgrounds. When I tell people my age they always say, you don’t look or act your age. I’ll take that as a compliment as long as I can but sometimes I get a little tired and forgetful. Do you ever experience any aches or pains as you get older? I love your blog! Oceans ofblessings, Sharon

Reply
Denise March 27, 2019 - 8:35 pm

Sharon, I know what your saying. I became a chef over 20 years ago second career for me. I have been private chef for some very well known people. Now I tried to retire but bored out of my mind so I found a lovely little inn and I teach cooking. I love shAring my craft with my clients. Proud to say I have lots of repeats.

Reply
ZELDA March 27, 2019 - 8:37 pm

good evening
first time leaving a comment.
i love your taste in the home and garden.
you are a very sophisticated lady and age will never be a issue.

Reply
de GEYER d'ORTH March 27, 2019 - 8:42 pm

Bravo et merci pour ce témoignage très inspirant !

Reply
Sue Malizia March 27, 2019 - 8:56 pm

No matter your age, Sharon… I personally find you incredibly inspiring! I get the age thing though; it just makes me even more impressed with all you’ve accomplished the past few years. I can see you enjoy and love whatever you share about in your posts and all your projects. Just keep being your awesome self. =)

Reply
Dee Poquette March 27, 2019 - 9:13 pm

Well, seems like this is a common problem. At 66 I am trying to start a new business. This idea came to me three years ago and I have been working at it every day since then. Unlike you, I have not been so successful. I am sure my friends and family and business partners are thinking it’s time I give up. Not sure when this will happen but as they say, “MY BIOLOGICAL CLOCK IS TICKING. ” Maybe they are right.

Reply
Celine Chollet March 27, 2019 - 9:22 pm

Chère Sharon,
Je suis toujours en admiration devant tout ce que tu as crée autour de ton blog, c’est une belle évolution qui montre bien ta motivation !
De mon côté je vais me lancer dans la création d’un nouveau livre d’aquarelles édité par moi-même, voilà un petit tournant dans mon travail !
Mais il faut de la concentration et de la constance pour y arriver !
Wait and see…
Je t’embrasse,
Céline

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:08 am

Merci Céline, et felicitations pour ton nouveau livre. Ton aquarellle de notre maison est sur le mur au dessus de mon bureau, et j’y prends beaucoup de plaisir tous les jours

Je t’embrasse

Sharon

Reply
Joyce March 27, 2019 - 9:50 pm

Well I just love this little saying” age is of no importance unless you are a cheese!!”I am 79 and still doing shows. I feel like I have an advantage over the younger crowd as I’ve been there done that ,seen that and can still talk about it! I love old age!!

Reply
Colleen Taylor March 27, 2019 - 10:28 pm

I love this photo of your Sharon. You’re such a beautiful woman in every way. I’m always astounded by all your talents and the beauty you create here & everywhere you go.
To answer your question, I’ve always been an artist in one way or another of many mediums. Every now and then, I automatically reinvent myself. It just seems to happen with or without design.
Age should never be an issue & I can completely relate to you when you say that how some people can react to a certain age. When it has happened to me, I personally find that so revealing of that person & I inwardly take offense to it. I never say a word either but I have to admit that I do bite my tongue. I can work circles around any younger person in addition to longer hours. I have more sophisticated computer software knowledge and digital skills than those younger people. I’ve come to the conclusion that I intimidate those people. When I’m around most people, I remain very quiet and I keep many things close to my vest. I’ve also realized that I’ve become invisible to many people. I think there are those on here that can relate to that as well.

It’s nearly impossible for me to relate to people of my generation. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant because it’s the plain truth. I find many are far older acting and thinking than their years. I can’t and I won’t fit in their narrow box. I’m perfectly fine with it and that’s all that matters.

Thank you for allowing me to this on this subject matter. X

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:12 am

HI Colleen, You and I go back a long way now! 🙂

Thank you for sharing these thoughts, I can totally relate to each and every point, and I think that many of my readers will feel the same way.

With age comes a wisdom and self control that we probably didn’t have when we were younger, and that is why we manage to bite our tongues and keep a lower profile
hugs from Normandy

Sharon

Reply
Alice March 27, 2019 - 10:57 pm

Girl, you are blessed and a blessing to us and those who would love to be in your shoes. I’m a
retired lady and have been blessed to have these 18 years to learn and grow without the daily stress
of going to work in a highly stressful field. What I know now that I didn’t know then is that those who would judge me would love to be in my shoes now.

Reply
Joan Powell March 27, 2019 - 11:02 pm

You are delightful and I pay close attention to your comments and your responses to awkward situations. Your phrasing is perfect, always gentle and ladylike. Hope to meet you someday. You are in my bucket list as well as my sister’s.

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:13 am

Thank you Joan, you are very kind

best

Sharon

Reply
Mary Anne MacMorran March 27, 2019 - 11:09 pm

This is a great subject to explore! I am also of that certain age. I retired last April and love my new freedom. I am reinventing myself too and love observing the process unfold. It’s quite magical actually. What I have observed about others who have retired is that some lack a sense of direction. They’ve spent their entire lives focused on getting an education, raising a family and making a career for themselves that they somehow lose themselves along the way. When it comes time to retire, they haven’t had time to explore personal interests enough to even know what direction to take. Some people are fortunate enough to find it, but others do not. Those are the ones that old age creeps up on creating a stigma about how one should behave when he or she ages. Or, sometimes ill health that comes from old age prevents a person from living a fulfilling life. I am proud of my age and am most grateful to have good health and to have figured out a new direction to follow. It is most rewarding and enriching.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your blog is inspiring and uplifting as you observe and share through your photography the beauty that surrounds you. I suspect that those younger than you are observant enough to be inspired too.

Mary Anne

Reply
Jen Nekker March 28, 2019 - 12:23 am

When I met you in 2011, you seemed to already have it in hand. And by simply being brave enough to put one foot in front of the other, look where you have brought yourself. You are an amazing person and love to watch what your next venture will be. Much love, Jen xx

Reply
Sharon Santoni March 28, 2019 - 9:14 am

Thank you Jen, hope all is well for you and the family 🙂

love to you too

Sharon
x

Reply
Shelia P. March 28, 2019 - 12:27 am

Hi Sharon. You are truly an inspiration to me, being an older lady myself. I so admire everything you’ve done and I’m sure will continue to accomplish. I don’t think when we reach a certain age we should just give up on our dreams. There’s so much I still want to accomplish! I can’t seem to get my partner on the same track however. He was able to retire early and has no desire to do anything more than piddle around in the yard and clean the pool, lol. I’m just not content to sit around and grow old waiting to die!!! I don’t want to leave this world having regrets that I didn’t do what I was meant to do! You’ve inspired me to get my act together and at least try. I have all your books and just love them! Congratulations on all your success. I’m in awe, truly.

Reply
Margo March 28, 2019 - 12:36 am

Hello Sharon,
I appreciate your honesty in telling this story. I retired from my full time job in clinical research in 2018. My last year was the most difficult ever, being denied the opportunity to work on newer projects because of my age nearing retirement. It was awful and I finally gave in. Both my husband and I retired, however, I’ve started working one afternoon a week in a small vintage shop where I have a small booth. I enjoy the social interaction as well as the fun of trying to sell a lot of the excess goods we have after downsizing. I also discovered the world of blogs this year and am considering doing this. I am not interested in earning money doing this, just the satisfaction of being able to share with a large group of people.
I’m looking forward to visiting Paris in May and am glad to have the time to travel.
Again, thank you for sharing your story with us and letting us know that we can still reinvent ourselves no matter what age we are!

Reply
Lorraine Wafer March 28, 2019 - 12:37 am

Hi Sharon it’s a beautiful autumn morning in Australia and I’ve just enjoyed reading your blog. I’m 67 and at 57 I retired from full time teaching in a large high school in a large city. My husband and I moved permanently in 2010 to a small coastal village, gutted and rebuilt our then holiday home as our new home and started a new life. Our 3 children had all left home and we wanted a different lifestyle by the ocean. I then retrained and reinvented myself as a marriage celebrant. Beyond the extensive training course required, I threw myself into learning how to build a website, setup Facebook page and Instagram. I relished the learning. I had done some research and knew it was viable as our little village is very popular for weddings with couples and guests coming from all over Australia and overseas. My business grew successfully to a point where I am now selective allowing time for family visits, travel and others activities. I am the eldest celebrant in the area and often my youngest clients could be my grandchildren. Most are the age of my children. I wonder how many years I’ll keep going but as you said my business is my a baby. I recently contemplated the idea of shutting down but realised how much I get from it. I work with lovely clients, enjoy the contact, enjoy presenting the ceremony and the joy created and love the whole experience. I still love the ongoing learning requirements. As long as the demand is there and I’m enjoying what I do I’ll keep going.
Our best years are still to come.
Cheers
Lorraine
http://www.ceremoniesbylorrainewafer.com.au

Reply
Janet March 28, 2019 - 1:49 am

Cheers to older entrepreneurs! I too am “of a certain age” and have been blogging for almost 13 years now. It’s certainly not the same as it was back when we first started but I still find it rewarding. I run a Facebook group of over 225 bloggers over the age of 50 and we are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Reply
Cheryl Brooks March 28, 2019 - 1:57 am

Hi Sharon,
Like Lorraine, I too am Australian, and sitting here in my home office at the moment, having taken time to read your latest blog post. I always look forward to it, and put more pressing things aside to enjoy it and think on your wise words. I find you such an inspiration, as I’m now 67 and have recently embarked on writing a Blog, mostly about Paris, but also destinations outside the city, say for day trips, and other destinations throughout France and further afield. I took a long time to pluck up courage to do this, as I didn’t think there’d be a call for what I had to offer, as I’m not into the latest groovy bar or suchlike. However, having spent 35 yrs. in the fashion industry and visiting France regularly for over 40 years, I’ve spent a lot of time answering friends and acquaintances’ questions about what to see and do etc. mostly cultural-related things such as exhibitions, attractions, sights…although my husband says I’ve also got a PhD in shopping! It’s been quite a learning curve (which I’m sure is very good for our “little grey cells” as we get older). Your terrific blog inspired me to finally put my info. down in a blog format, http://www.parisplusplus.com I’m loving the whole thing and have had such wonderful responses–so much for being too old, or a bit past it…! Again, largely due to your inspiration, I’m now in the throes of setting up a shopping cart on the website to have small amounts of merchandise to sell, such as some fashion accessories and artworks, and am trying to convince two extremely talented artists friends that they too are not too old to give it a shot and provide me with some of their fabulous works for the website. Hopefully, this will have a snowball effect for other older, creative and very able people to get out there and have a go. As my late mother once said, when someone suggested that at 87 she join the local Senior Citizens club: “oh no dear, I’m not old enough for that yet”!! You’re a great role model, so please keep on inspiring us with what you do. As Lorraine said, our best years are still to come!
Kind regards,
Cheryl Brooks

Reply
Robin March 28, 2019 - 2:10 am

One’s age is only a number and to some represents a stereotyped view of what that number represents. An individual’s talents, poise, intelligence, and attitude are the qualities that can lead to a successful entrepreneur project not how old she/he is.. I would venture to say that Sharon is a role model for many women (and maybe even men) no matter their age. To be honest I never thought about age when I began to follow her and then later sign on for her blog. It was her style and creativity that kept me interested.

Reply
Ellen Forbus March 28, 2019 - 2:14 am

Sharon,
Too bad that they focus on age, BUT it gives you a great opportunity to show that age is irrelevant but rather the passion and love for creating things that matters. A few years ago, retired morning news anchor Jane Pauley reinvented her career and, as some writers have pointed out that was rare in America if you didn’t go to the rocking chair. But she traveled the states talking about reinvention and bringing along examples of others who are starting their second career! It is a beautiful thing. Keep going and blessings to you.
Ellen in Ohio

Reply
Kim March 28, 2019 - 2:54 am

Sharon, I have been following your blog for quite some time, and it is simply incredible! I am also not a young gal, but feel that we have so much to offer with our years of experience. I just launched my blog Luxe du Jour less than a year ago. It is such a labor of love after being in a non-creative business for so many years You are so inspiring! I can only hope to learn from talented women like you to make my blog a success. Best, Kim

Reply
Donna D March 28, 2019 - 5:19 am

Hi Sharon

I cannot recall how I discovered your blog, but loved it from day one! As an annual visitor to France I have enjoyed over the years your travel tips, recipes, and advice with antique shopping. For one who enjoys a beautiful garden but cannot grow a single plant, the photos of your gorgeous garden and floral displays have bought me much pleasure. Congratulations on all that you have achieved!

Reply
Ana March 28, 2019 - 8:57 am

Dear Sharon,

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this post, although I am part of the ”younger” generation (of ”early-stage” entrepreneurs). As my husband is of french ancestry, I love getting close to french culture in any way possible. Thanks for bringing me closer to the french country side life.

Regards,
Ana

Reply
Karen Kriebl March 28, 2019 - 10:35 am

Like French culture, your approach to business understands the need to do things with care and intention. I am inspired as I work toward a lifelong dream to share my passion of a French lifestyle to others through creative workshops in exploring d’arts ménager – simple daily tasks with a French flair – and my online brocante shop. What would you and your community advise a fellow older entrepreneur to do in order to build a larger following for my business in today’s high tech world?

Merci for helping us to live a beautiful “French life,”
Karen

Reply
Linda Mahkovec March 28, 2019 - 2:29 pm

Sharon, thank you for this wonderul blog post – all the responses are fascinating. You have attracted a dynamic group of determined women who want to live to the fullest. Thank you for showing so many of us that later can be better. No one would ever ask a man if he was the oldest in the room! Which just shows that we have a long way to go – but what a thrilling journey, especially with women like you at the helm. Your photograph says it all – bold, confident, beautiful – and enjoying every minute of it!

Reply
Florence A Schell March 28, 2019 - 3:39 pm

Sharon. All I can say is Good for You! I have reinvented myself many times. Left Corporate America at age 55. Started a business then and continued for 13 years. Moved into creating art forms and have been a Creative ever since. Now at age 73 I am exhibiting and participating in the art world while painting every day. We human women are nothing short of miraculous. Our interests are typically wide and far reaching and if our personality meets this we generally ‘go for it’, A term has been created, brought to my attention by Chip Conley, calling adults ‘Perennials”. We bloom. Re-bloom. Birth. Rebirth. Over and Over again. Blessings on you. Love from Flo in NJ

Reply
Raymond Clauwers March 28, 2019 - 5:16 pm

After retirement at 63, I started a small business four years ago shipping (cheap) antiques to the USA. After prices collapsing seriously, I shifted to participating at two public antique markets, of which Tongeren (East of Belgium) is the largest. I feel that it keeps me young; moreover, discussing with people, negotiating and last but not least finding nice stuff is the real challenge.

Reply
Deb March 28, 2019 - 7:29 pm

This really struck home for me! I should be retired, but about 5 years ago, I picked up a paint brush at the art studio where I was creating, and began a career as an artist. I am now in several galleries, have attended an artist in residency in France, and will be going back to France in June to Noyers Sur Sein to assist in a painting workshop. The art world seems to trend with younger, adorable 30 somethings — not retirement age women! But, there’s a lot of us out there, and we aren’t just sitting around — we’re creating!

Reply
Nancy S. March 28, 2019 - 9:33 pm

Hello Sharon, I began painting every day once I retired from my full time job of 25 years as a faculty of nursing. Once my responsibilities to students and administration were gone, I was able to put all my energy into my creative process. Those unleashed creative juices erupted and flowed and show no hint of slowing down. Three years into my life as an artist, because of hard work and dedication to my craft, I am selling paintings, exhibiting them in juried shows, and often winning recognition in those shows. Believe it or not I am considered “advanced” in my painting skills and am judged at that level. So age is irrelevant. If age is of any concern or consideration to me it is only in the knowledge that I have less time to complete my “body of work” then I would have had if I’d started painting at a younger age. With some input from my daughter and son-in-law, I am working on creating a website now and post all my paintings on Instagram at ssipaints. We, you and I, and those of a similar age, are a generation of women with grit and resilience; qualities essential to success and self-actualization.

Reply
Catherine Kelly March 29, 2019 - 2:52 am

At the age of 70, I find myself immersed in supporting regenerative farming, engaging both in our own business and in the worldwide movement to address issues of food nutrition affecting human health, and environmental issues affecting climate, land degradation and chemical pollution on land and sea. This is a huge call! Like you, Sharon, I’m devoted to my family – family first is my motto. And it’s because this is what my family are involved in that I am passionate about committing my time and energy to the task: saving the family farm while addressing the issues above.

Reply
Alicia Alvez de los santos March 29, 2019 - 3:31 am

You are an inspiration for me, I’m 41 years old and I want to start my own bussines. I love your work. You are a fantastic woman.

Reply
june March 29, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Sharon,
LOVED the feature article in French Cooking and Entertaining. Your home is so beautiful.

So frustrating that age can be such a label. Went through that when I had my second child at 41. Left a job that I loved because the owners could not get past the idea I would be less than worthy of managing their company because I had a baby.

Onward and upward is what I always say. Fast forward 25 years and it was the best decision I made to get out of a toxic setting. My boys are thriving in grad school…1 and 3 years away from their Doctorates. Proud of them and feel blessed to have the opportunity to be home with them young.

You inspire me to seek a new adventure. I have been doing a lot of volunteering and a few part time jobs…but I’m feeling the need to seek something more creative. Hubby wont be retired for a couple of years.

I always tell people I’m a senior in training…at 66 its only a number

Reply
Marcy Feit March 31, 2019 - 7:15 pm

Wow! Reading all these wonderful stories was so inspiring and uplifting. Thank you Sharon for this wonderful forum.

Reply
Jeni Maus April 2, 2019 - 9:07 pm

I just love you so darn much. age is merely a number….you put most 25 year olds to shame. all the hugs, jeni

Reply
cheri April 6, 2019 - 11:01 am

Hi Sharon,
I have been following your blog since the early days. I lost you for a while when subscriptions changed and found you again on insta recently. I had enquired about one of your tours but my life changed dramatically.
My friends say that I am the Queen of Reinvention and Embracing Change. I don’t really believe in accidents and so I think that being an accidental entrepreneur is really you just finding a new passion and following it.
I am currently following my ambition to go to University. OK it has taken me 34 years to get to the point of it being in touching distance and I am the oldest student in the class but I love that. I find younger people so refreshing, full of dreams and ambition and I constantly learn so much from them (or remember things I had forgotten). Retirement is good for those who want it but me? I am far from ready for it.

Reply
Maywyn April 7, 2019 - 6:40 pm

Amazing post. Your blog journey over the years, and your confidence is inspiring.
My 70th birthday last year has been a puzzling surprise that I embrace with a joy I didn’t expect. That big 70 number blossomed into a quirky sense of wisdom making via the happiness of just being. Many years ago someone joked long gray hair doesn’t look that good on me. I laughed, and then cut my hair. This year I stopped cutting my hair. And it feels great when the wind makes it fly all over the place.

Reply
Katherine Tremellen April 16, 2019 - 2:52 pm

Thank you Sharon for sharing your story. I am going through the exciting process of reinventing myself after being a very joyful stay at home Mum of four for 19 years. I have a degree in Landscape Architecture but wanted more creativity and flexibility ….. my youngest is 11 and I still want to be available for her . For the past few years I have been developing a flower farm. I have started small and really enjoyed handing over my bouquets to happy customers. What I have relished in most with being older is the self confidence to do things my way and to be answerable just to me !

Reply

Leave a Comment